Last updated: March 2023
I’ve been asked if I have started or created any traditions since my diagnosis. At first, no, I thought, but as I look back now, I must say I did and didn’t notice it.
A new look at birthday traditions since my lung cancer diagnosis
When my kids were younger, I made sure always to throw them a birthday party. Big or small, they always had one. As they got older, those days were over, so I made sure that for each of my children’s birthdays, we would have a cake, and we all got together to sing happy birthday. Plus, we would either go out to eat as a family or cook an amazing meal at home.
Then that tradition spilled over to do it for my husband and me, then to my kids at the time, boyfriend or girlfriend, my mother, mother-in-law, our siblings, and close friends of ours. Now we have two beautiful grandchildren, and when they get too old to throw a birthday party, we’ll do the same for them.
Many might say that’s not really a tradition, but for me, it is because I don’t know if I’ll be able to see my children’s or grandchildren’s birthday the following year. So I make sure we do this every year to create precious memories with them.
For Thanksgiving, it’s hard when everyone has a few houses to attend, and some might not be able to make it to some. So we decided to have our Thanksgiving the next day, on Friday instead. Like that, we’re all together, and my kid's significant other's family can come over too.
Combining traditions for Christmas
I combined the Hispanic/Latino tradition with the American Christmas tradition, and we have the best of both worlds.
In my family, we never hung stockings, but I decided to start a couple of years after my diagnosis. We wrote all of our children’s names on it, and we added a stocking each year if needed. Now I don’t have any room for all the wonderful stockings, but I always find a way.
About four years ago, I got ornaments with our names on them, and we hang them on our tree every year, and I’ve been blessed to add several names to the tree. We also buy a new ornament each Christmas that has a special meaning for us.
A new tradition: Christmas tamales!
We started up our tamales-making tradition, and I must say it’s so much fun when some of the kids come over and help.
Baking together brings me so much joy
During the month of December, my daughters like to come over on the weekends to bake cookies, brownies, and a cake, and my granddaughter gets so happy.
This Christmas, we decided to buy matching pajamas and wear them. I can’t wait. I’m so looking forward to this!
Lung cancer has changed my perspective
Before my diagnosis, we did do some great things when my kids were younger - but not really anything traditional. After my diagnosis, everything changed.
New traditions since my lung cancer diagnosis
We saw life differently and realized that life is short and we must live and enjoy it to its fullest. So we, as a family, decided to create new traditions as time goes on, and if possible, go all out. I actually look forward to asking, “what new traditions are we going to do next?” It helps me to look toward the future with a positive outlook.
If you haven’t started a tradition, I highly recommend you do. Or, if you do have some, start adding to it. We must leave precious memories behind for our loved ones and take lots of pictures and videos too. Leave them memories that they will cherish throughout their lifetime.
Happy Lung Cancer Awareness Month! What does self-advocacy mean to you?